PBS lives on

Mitt Romney’s comments that came during a conference call following the election all but relegated Romney to the dustbin of history and the Republican Party. The comments echoed the 47% comments that helped seal his fate during the election itself, when during the call he noted that President Obama showered different voting blocs with gifts. The comments say a lot about Governor Romney’s true character and how Governor Romney might have governed.

[Side note: Republican attempts to define Romney as a caring person did not exactly go well: during the RNC convention aides scrapped Romney’s biographical video in favor of a surprise guest appearance, which was yet another misstep with Eastwood’s empty chair performance.]

The reason I’m reaching back in time is because I want to bring to light another Romney quote that sheds light on how he might have governed. During the first debate Romney said he would cut PBS. He also said “First of all, I will eliminate all programs based on this test, if they don’t pass it – Is the program so critical it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it. And if not, I’ll get rid of it.”

This single criterion is a breathtaking and sweeping assertion of power by a man who in private expresses no concern for Americans who do depend on critical government programs like food stamps and welfare. Worse, while small programs critical to children’s education would be cut, defense spending would be kept at at least 4% of GDP irrespective of war or peace, which strikes me not only as wasteful spending but poor policy.

Policymakers and executives need to use not just one but many criteria when considering what programs to keep and which ones to cut. Fortunately, the American people used criteria of their own to see that Romney’s vision would not be realized.

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